How Useful Is Mavs' Haywood 'Stretch'?

We get warm and fuzzy about Mavs contractual cleverness. But there are misunderstandings regarding the Brendan Haywood anmnesty option and ‘spread provision.' Can that provision help a Haywood-acquiring team with its cash flow? Yes. Does it make him more attractive in a trade or in terms of cap room? Premium Mavs fans get our CBA insight, Mark Cuban's answer to our questions, and the scoop: Eddie Sefko breaks the story of Haywood's contract including a "spread provision'' that the Dallas Morning News (and apparently a Mavs source) says means "any team that waives Haywood can spread out the payments for the remainder of his contract until 2026 … That means the team that owns his rights and waives him would be responsible for no more than $2 million per year over the next 14 years. That clause in the deal is a huge incentive when it comes to including Haywood as a possible sweetener in trade talks … Other teams see that as a very appealing contract.''

We've no doubt the contractual details are correct. (This sounds like a Mavs trick the front office probably does more frequently than most know.)

But we disagree with many of the suggested ramifications. And more, we wondered for a moment if the Mavs hadn't floated this out there in a way that allows them to unduly puff out their chests.

Simply put (and meaning no disrespect to the principals): We don't see the cap advantages or the trade advantages of this provision. We don't see them at all.

So we asked Mavs owner Mark Cuban if we are correct in believing that the "stretch'' is good for CASH relief but not CAP relief.

"You are correct,'' Cuban responded.

So we're quite certain (and now confirmed by the guy who wrote the contract) that if waived, Haywood's payout would be stretched … but his cap hit would NOT change from how the deal was written.

And as we believed when we first saw the story, that's simply not how the cap rules work.

Therefore, we don't see why a team would trade for Haywood solely because he has this spread provision. In essence, that would be trading for the opportunity to throw a $27 million contract in the trash with no change on your cap or tax totals.

Trading for Haywood has value for some teams in some ways, and this provision adds one wrinkle to that: it's a sort of "insurance policy" on a franchise's cash flow in the event he plays poorly enough that they wish to waive him. That will NOT impact their cap. But it will save a small-market or penny-pinching owner some cash on a yearly basis. That's some "insurance'' and that might have value to somebody.

This isn't DUST and it isn't LOAF; there's no "instant vanishing'' of cap impact, and maybe that's where the report got its signals crossed. Because it's not "vanishing,'' it really doesn't help getting a team to take on Haywood.

Also mentioned frequently is the notion that the Dallas Mavericks will amnesty Brendan Haywood so Dallas can get out from under the $9 million-a-year deal he is playing under. We continue to believe that amnesty is not the Mavs' optimal move here – and that's even more viable if management is successful in getting the Lamar Odom deadline changed. Keeping Haywood remains a possibility, as the Mavs wisely collect centers. Using him as a trade chip as part of the trade-matching for a player with a very big annual salary remains a possibility, too. But trading Haywood to a team so it can waive him and reap the cap-relief benefits?

That's not the way a move with Brendan Haywood can work. That's what we say ... and that's what Cuban says.

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